Jebsen & Jessen boss Heinrich Jessen is Businessman of the Year

Jebsen and Jessen chairman Heinrich Jessen, 49, was named the 2016 Businessman of the Year on Tuesday. PHOTO:  KUA CHEE SIONG/SPH
Jebsen and Jessen chairman Heinrich Jessen, 49, was named the 2016 Businessman of the Year on Tuesday. PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG/SPH

SINGAPORE - His personal passion for environmental sustainability has earned company boss Heinrich Jessen the title of 2016 Businessman of the Year on Tuesday.

Mr Jessen, 49, was appointed chairman of Jebsen & Jessen (Southeast Asia) in 2004 and led it to become one of Asia's first carbon-neutral industrial companies in 2011.

"We took the decision despite the fact the country is not ready for it yet," he said at the award ceremony, adding that he hopes to hear of more firms going carbon-neutral in the future.

Mr Jessen was also honoured at the Singapore Business Awards for his vision in transforming Jebsen & Jessen from a trading business started by his family in Hong Kong into a Singapore-based pan-Asian industrial and engineering enterprise with more than 4,000 employees.

The firm has expanded into nine Asean member countries and has seven business units in different industries, from chemicals to material-handling technology.

"I think (the company can stay relevant) by concentrating on being in leadership positions so we play a relevant, meaningful role for employees, for customers, and for suppliers," he said.

Mr Jessen, who was born in Denmark and became a Singapore citizenship in 2013, was presented the award by Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung.

Three other winners bagged trophies at the ceremony held at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia and attended by about 600 business leaders.

Mr Goh Choon Phong, 53, chief executive of Singapore Airlines Group, was named Outstanding CEO for his bold initiatives in the face of global competition.

Mr Quek Chin Yeow, deputy chairman of Sotheby's Asia, won the title of Outstanding Overseas Executive of the Year.

The awards are jointly organised by The Business Times, Singapore Press Holdings and DHL Express.